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What the 6.0.2 changes to heal-over-time mechanics mean for us

I don't understand why the TCG art for Sacred Shield shows a Worgen.
One of the mechanic overhauls of 6.0.2 was a complete reworking of how heal-over-time (HoT) and damage-over-time (DoT) abilities operated and how they interacted with Haste. In terms of HoTs, this affects us via our abilities Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame which will both follow these new rules. Here’s what’s changed for them:

Partial ticks: haste does not make waste

Before 6.0.2, adding Haste would reduce the duration of a HoT/DoT by increasing the frequency of the ticks, until finally a “breakpoint” was reached that would reset the ability to its full duration by squeezing an additional tick in at the end. This was a major factor in the gameplay for DoT-based DPS classes.

Now, after 6.0.2, that whole angle is gone. Instead of the duration of the ability changing depending on your Haste, it will always last the duration that’s stamped on the box. As you add Haste the frequency of the ticks will still speed up and, because there will be empty space at the end after that last tick, when the ability runs its course there will be a “partial tick” at the very end that fires for an amount based on how much time was left in the ability duration after the last full tick.

So what all this means for us: Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame will always last 30 seconds, and if we let them fall off, we will not have wasted “dead space” at the end but instead have some kind of compensation for anything after the last full tick.

That said, there’s no reason to let the abilities fall off if you can help it, because …

All classes have now caught the Pandemic

The now-removed Warlock passive Pandemic allowed them to refresh their DoTs early and tack on 50% of the ability’s remaining duration when it was refreshed. In 6.0.2 this benefit was given to all HoTs and DoTs across all classes as a baseline mechanic, and the percentage was reduced to 30%. (And it is awesome.)

For us this means that if you refresh Sacred Shield or Eternal Flame before it runs out (which you can do so to avoid a partial tick) you will have extra time tacked onto the end of the new duration. This makes it a little easier to find the right moment to refresh those crucial abilities, and doesn’t penalize you if you have to refresh them early.

Snapshotting is gone

Especially with regards to Vengeance, it was important prior to 6.0.2 to try to maximize the use of the snapshotting mechanic to get the most out of your HoTs. For example, with Eternal Flame, the best time to refresh was not just when you had 5 stacks of Bastion of Glory but also when your Vengeance was high enough that the heal would be as strong as possible. The value of maximizing use of snapshotting was so high that, for example, Theck made a “stoplight” weakaura to highlight when the optimal time to refresh EF was. Other classes were similarly dependent on maximizing this edge.

6.0.2 has removed snapshotting entirely for us; now Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame will dynamically update each tick amount for your current stats depending on procs, buffs, and so on.

For a much more detailed look at these mechanic changes, check out this post from Hamlet.

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October 16, 2014
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Growing pains

Here we are, day two of 6.0.2 and it’s a whole different ball game.

Last night I logged in and immediately began disabling addons, performing the delicate dance between placating an angry Bugsack and keeping my UI with some semblance of familiarity. Finally I was able to triage out the addons I could live without and find some hard-to-find upgrades for others, and I was ready to go.

I then proceeded with the second-most important step in my checklist: hitting the barber shop.

As you can see my priorities are clearly in the correct order.

Anyway, you can see the result of the new character models on Rhidach just above. He looks pretty badass with his beard and his armor — which seems much bulkier with the new models, but this might be an “Onyxia breathes more” situation. (I’d be remiss to say though that I don’t still miss my elf-Rhidach, but what can you do?)

The to-do list

Once I was done playing lite-brite and dress-up with my character, I figured I’d might take a crack at actually playing the game.

  • I moved around some abilities to account for the new priority, so that they appear in the correct order in combat. I also monkeyed with my keybinds a little. Blinding Light used to be SHIFT+F, but since I won’t be talenting for that ability anytime soon, I gave that much-more-comfortable keybind to Holy Wrath.
  • I retalented, dropping Eternal Flame, Divine Purpose, and Holy Prism, and nabbed Sacred Shield, Sanctified Wrath, and Light’s Hammer in their places.
  • I reglyphed and picked up Glyph of Final Wrath. I’m keeping Alabaster Shield, but for the last slot I’ll just swap Focused Shield/Divine Protection/whatever depending on the fight.
  • Regemming! Yesterday I cut way more gems than I am happy to admit. I’m still not 100% happy with my gemming (and, more generally, my stats). I assumed I’d have more Haste after logging into 6.0.2 for the first time, but I was wrong and stuck at 35%. I eventually tried to split the difference between Haste and Mastery (which sims are showing as the stronger option) and went with just about all Keen Vermilion Onyxs. Unfortunately my Haste is down to 25% and I can’t help but feel I should just suck it up and go straight Mastery. I’m going to wait and see how raid tonight goes before I commit any further to one direction or the other.

Wait, that’s it?

I ended up doing the “Iron Invasion” stuff which was disappointingly short. They couldn’t have thrown in some world bosses or something to make the event feel more perilous/interesting/social?

Also from a tactical standpoint, I don’t know if I agree with Stormwind putting their army on boats, shipping them all the way around the Cape of Stranglethorn, and dropping them off on the beach. I understand that the Blasted Lands entrance is a bottleneck, but in a sense, so isn’t a navy (and a floating, flammable bottleneck at that)? Wouldn’t it work better to just march in force straight across to the Blasted Lands and clear out all resistance along the way? Then again, I guess the Shattered Beach allows for a pincer maneuver from the north AND the east, so that’s handy.

I don’t know. What the hell do I know about tactics?

Where was I going with this? Right, the whole mess going on in that zone felt pretty pointless. After being trapped on the Timeless Isle for about 3 years, I assumed that all content going forward would be like that model. So it was weird to have just two tiny quest hubs to work through and then the big reward is a pet and an achievement. It’s very anticlimactic when you consider previous pre-expansion events which were so much more involved.

Stretching my legs

I ended up queueing for the updated Upper Blackrock Spire with a friend and I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Of course I’m a raid-geared tank, and the geared better than what the content had to offer, so no matter what it wasn’t going to feel particularly onerous. Regardless, it was weird to get used to the 6.0.2 changes. Even though there wasn’t a lot that was different from the day before, what was missing was very noticeable.

For example, on one particular boss I wanted to push some DPS but I realized that without Avenging Wrath and not being specced into Holy Avenger I didn’t really have any damage cooldowns I could make use of. It made me feel weaker that I didn’t have the chance to put my damage into overdrive temporarily. That’s a hole in the kit that I’m not happy about.

Likewise, on the first boss with the electric nonsense, I imagined the other group members would take care of clicking the generators during the fight. They didn’t and AOE damage started to ramp up beyond what the healer could handle. My very first instinct was “oh, a burst of group-wide AOE magic damage? I have just the thing!” Then I reached for my Devotion Aura keybind and cried as it flooded back that my very last aura was taken away from me. I don’t like feeling diminished in group utility. I feel lessened.

The rotation itself was fine though. I didn’t notice any real hiccups there, and that’s even with moving away from the EF/DP/HP dynamic I’d been using for all of 5.4. I really like Sanctified Wrath and having that additional source of Holy Power, and likewise the talent taking the brakes off of the the runaway truck that is Holy Wrath feels great.

Related to the rotation, what I appreciated beyond words was the lack of Vengeance. I am so, so happy that change was made. It was so nice to have a consistent level of damage output. I haven’t done much “out in the world” soloing yet, so I can’t speak to how my damage is there, but for low-level group content, I didn’t feel weakened at all. I felt stronger in that content, and that was great.

I’m going to hold off speaking to my damage intake, mostly because of the Haste/Mastery discontent expressed above, and because the real test comes tonight when <Business Time> hits SoO for the first time in months. Let’s do this!

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Bonus Armor and 6.0.2

(Note: If you’re looking for a 6.0.2 survival guide, check out the guide I’ve prepared at wowhead.)

While with the pre-expansion patch we won’t be able to play with the new Versatility or Multistrike stats, we definitely can go on a spree with Bonus Armor through Siege of Orgrimmar. Or a jag, if that’s more your flavor.

Keep in mind that Bonus Armor not only increases our survivability by a great deal, it also gives us attack power, which helps make it our best secondary stat. Theck has a stat weights in his 6.0.2 post and it shows just how powerful Bonus Armor is right now.

Thankfully, a bunch of items from Mists of Pandaria picked up Bonus Armor as hit/expertise and dodge/parry were given the old heave-ho from gear. And while Warlords is only a month away, there’s really nothing wrong with trying to optimize in the interregnum. As they say: smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

To make it a little easier to dig through your bank and the corpses of future SoO kills, here’s a list of what you can grab from the current tier to procure more delicious Bonus Armor. Generally, pieces pairing Bonus Armor with Haste or Mastery will be better than those pairing it with Critical Strike. Only a few slots can even have Bonus Armor, so you want to cram it in wherever possible.


  • Qian-Ying, Fortitude of Niuzao from the end of the legendary questline
  • Oxhoof Bladebreaker from along the legendary questline
  • Gloomwrap Greatcloak from Fallen Protectors


  • Choker of the Final Word from Sha of Pride
  • Blackfuse’s Blasting Cord from Siegecrafter Blackfuse


  • Galakrond Control Band from Galakras
  • Ring of the Iron Tomb from Dark Shaman


  • Juggernaut’s Focusing Crystal from Iron Juggernaut


  • Shield of Mockery from Sha of Pride
  • Ancient Mogu Tower Shield from Spoils of Pandaria

Today is a good day for us packrats that save anything that drops.

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October 14, 2014
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Here we go again


One of my favorite parts of WoW is the pre-expansion patch that mucks everything up. It’s a crazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants time when everything you know about how to play you character may be suddenly and horrifically wrong.

Thankfully, as far as prot pallies are concerned, we’re in a pretty nice spot with no earth-shattering changes that are going to lead to a lost generation of tanks.  Even with the much-vaunted ability purge, we survived fairly intact. I’m going to avoid a full rehash of all the 6.0.2 changes because (a) my guide at wowhead should have its 6.0.2 updates go-live today and (b) Theck just put up his own at Sacred Duty and that should be a good primer while we wait for the servers to open up once more.

When the wowhead guide goes up I’ll be sure to update the 101 tab above with a link. (Edit: It’s up!)

Calm before the storm

It had been a long summer for me and WoW. I ended up cancelling my sub (temporarily, of course) in June because I was so sick of Siege of Orgrimmar and WildStar was suddenly so attractive. Of course, that bubble burst really quickly and I didn’t even play WildStar after the free month included with the game. Obviously what I needed was just a trial separation from Garrosh.

Nevertheless, in the last month I found myself getting more and more excited again for WoW after dabbling in the beta here and there and getting prepared for all the changes coming in the 6.0 era. Because protection paladins aren’t really changing that much, I’ve been focusing more on the overarching changes to the game. The new character models and the stat squish in particular have really reignited my passion for this game, and I can’t wait to log in tonight and monkey with my gear and maybe — y’know, if I’m feeling adventurous — my transmog.

I ended up resubbing in September to do one final round of challenge mode golds with some Business Time guildmates, in particular to get the transmog sets for Vidyala’s paladin and Vosskah’s warrior (which is, thankfully, his main once more). I did the CMs on my mage and I wish I could say I was fantastic, but really, I was adequate. I did what I had to do. There was a lot of on-the-job training, let’s just leave it at that.

Still, we succeeded and I have a set of really atrocious transmog gear for my alt, so that’s kind of cool. More than anything, I enjoyed the journey. While it was far less stressful than the first time around, it was still somewhat of a challenge. (Knowing ahead of time how to execute for a gold really cuts down on how long it takes to squeeze a gold medal out of each dungeon.)

Dawn of the Last Day

Then yesterday, on 6.0.2 Eve, I logged into WoW and desperately tried to figure out something to do to occupy my time. I eventually settled on a Gulp Frog Harvest to collect lesser charms for item upgrades. I was unsubbed when the 4/4 upgrades were introduced, and I missed the opportunity to wrap that up much earlier.  I also ran some heroics with guildmates to collect justice points for the cash-in with the patch.

It was a pretty quiet way to spend the last day of the 5.0 era, I admit. There were not a lot of “last times” that I felt the urge to indulge. I popped wings for the last time as protection, and that was pretty much it. I didn’t even bother taking off my helmet to admire Rhidach’s weird face, since there’ll be toggle to flip if I ever feel the need to “gaze upon that bedraggled visage” once more.

All in all, there was just a weird feeling in the air last night. Mists of Pandaria, when all is said and done and the expansion is firmly in the past, was a great chunk of content for WoW. The problem was, it overstayed its welcome and was with us for far too long. It’s hard to miss something that you have grown to become sick of, like an old friend from high school who crashes on your couch for a couple of months. Sure, Mists was the life of the party once, but now it’s left a weird smell on the couch and all my snacks are gone.

It’s a shame, the expansion is permanently going to leave a bad taste in many, many mouths despite all Blizzard accomplished this expansion. I’m trying to take the long view, but boy is it difficult to be that magnanimous.

Anyway, on to 6.0.2!

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October 14, 2014
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The disappointing change to Holy Wrath


Disappointing because one of the more glaring issues with protection paladins in Mists has been our weak snap aggro, and Holy Wrath was always good candidate to remedy that problem in the upcoming expansion.

I was pretty excited when I saw a Theck tweet that began “I’m not sure what I think about the Holy Wrath change yet.” Oh awesome, I said to no one in particular finally they did something with Holy Wrath — about time!

Then without finishing said tweet, I opened a tab to MMO-Champ and read:

Holy Wrath’s damage has been increased by 100%, and its cooldown increased to 15 seconds (up from 9 seconds).

Sanctified Wrath (Protection) now increases the damage of Holy Wrath by 100% and causes it to generate 1 Holy Power.

And the air was promptly let out of the party balloon. The damage split (also known as meteor effect) had survived.

It’s nice that Blizzard thinks that our snap aggro needs work, as the patch notes specifically state the change to HW is …

to give Protection Paladins more burst threat and damage, while retaining its core damage-splitting identity.

Core damage-splitting identity. Oh goddammit. That read like lemon juice on a papercut.

In any case, I’m not confident that this will ultimately do the job of repairing our weak snap aggro. And I’ll be pretty unhappy if the first raid tier of Warlords is just more of the same: losing aggro over and over at one trash pack after another to my co-tank. I’ve been playing a paladin tank for many years now, through many high points and many low points, and the aggro situation in Siege of Orgrimmar was probably one of the lowest lows I’ve had to slog through.

The problem with a meteor effect is that the bigger the trash pack, the weaker Holy Wrath will hit for. So this change may make HW even better for single target, but the spell will still — by its very nature — be handicapped by an increasing number of enemies. It’s an intrinsic problem with the design of the spell, and playing with the damage knob isn’t an automatic fix.

Maybe the damage pass will alleviate this a bit. Maybe I’m not giving the new, burstier Holy Wrath the credit it deserves (especially with the updated Sanctified Wrath in the mix). Maybe paired with the five-target Avenger’s Shield and mobile Consecration this won’t be an issue.

But that’s a lot of maybes. I was hoping for something a bit more confidence inspiring, and this change surely was not it.

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July 23, 2014
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Hold, please


Things move quickly sometimes. After the WildStar beta, a lot of BTers — myself included — concluded that we didn’t particularly care for that game and probably wouldn’t pick it up when it was released. Raids were still being planned for once a week (though without much enthusiasm) and we braced ourselves for the upcoming Summer of Suck.

Then right before the WildStar headstart, a bunch of us — again, myself included — picked up the game and ended up enjoying it way more than we expected. Suddenly raids were cancelled one after another and no one was particularly choked up about it. The guild, nearly as a whole, just shifted to a new game and dug in to the leveling process.

As for myself, I went with the engineer/explorer combo that I enjoyed in the open beta. Unlike open beta, though, I am fully leveling as DPS and haven’t decided whether I particularly care to jump to tanking. I’m enjoying the idea of just being another face-in-the-crowd DPS and not having to worry about having to tank for a party of ingrates. Then again, I’ve only twice done content with random groups, so I’m not exactly avoiding a great burden here.

Anyway, I’m having a great time with the game, and I’m doing my best to keep my expectations low. This is a dalliance, a flirtation. After all: the wound left by my affair with SWTOR still hasn’t healed, and frankly I’m not sure if I can bring myself to love another other-MMO in the same way. I’m definitely not going to “invest” in WildStar in any specific way (for example, starting a new blog — just no) and I’m not sure I’ll do anything in there other than some casual endgame stuff.

I’m still saving myself for WoW. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Mixed messages


With raiding on indefinite hiatus, I have zero things to do in WoW. In addition, money isn’t exactly free-flowing and opportunities for scrimping here and there isn’t a terrible thing. So last night I decided to check and see when my WoW subscription was up for renewal. I opted for the 6-month recurring plan to save a few bucks, and I figured if it was renewing soon I could cut it off at the pass and save some dough to justify (well, rationalize) my splurge on WildStar.

As you can see, I caught it just in the nick of time! Four days before I was going to be charged again, what luck.

This is actually the first time in recent memory I have cancelled WoW. I’m not sure I even cancelled my subscription back in my post-Cataclysm break. And I wasn’t sure back then that I’d ever come back.

On top of all this, I received an email on Monday night that I was invited to the Warlords Alpha and it was just so sad. I really can’t imagine what would get me in Draenor right now at this moment, so that invite was totally wasted on me.

I’m telling myself, fervently, that I’ll be back for the actual release of Warlords — whenever the hell that is — but this is a well deserved break and I intend to make the most of it. Even better: with raiding on hiatus, it’s a guilt-free break to boot. That’s quite a rare thing.

I’ll just be over here recharging the batteries, must like I did after Cataclysm, writing little posts here and there as things move along. And I’ll be saving $13 a month while I do it.

So what’s so great about WildStar?

Let’s finish this post on a happy note and talk about what’s so attractive about this diversion so far.

Above all: the game is so fresh.

They do so much differently that, even dissatisfied as I was with the open beta, I truly missed some of those mechanics when I was in WoW the week afterwards. Combat is so frenetic with the telegraph system and the emphasis on mobility, I love it. Whenever I’m in combat (especially boss fights!) I’m zipping around, rolling from side to side, dashing out of some big hurt about to come crashing down, lining up my attacks, and taking care to not stay too long in one place. It’s a huge change of pace from WoW’s combat in a very fundamental way and it makes going back to WoW’s combat feel like going back to dial-up after trying broadband.

I’m also really excited about how much the WildStar devs have embraced customization in their game. You can customize so much of what you experience. All armor can be dyed in various ways which blows transmog out of the water in terms of personalizing your character from head to toe. You can even bolt flexing biceps onto your mount’s head. And the housing — the housing!

I’m not a terribly creative person, so I haven’t really gotten deeply into shaping and molding my character’s housing plot but others have really taken the concept and run with it. (Also, I’m really cheap and don’t want to spend all my meager savings on crates and sconces.) Nonetheless, I can make up for that by visiting the housing plots of people on on my Neighbors list and living vicariously through them. For example, I can visit this monstrosity that Rades created:


I imagine that what Rades has created must be the Hell of some sapient race that exists out there in the infinite void of the WildStar universe.

I should probably step back and temper my enthusiasm a tad now, lest you think I am gushing. Obviously the game isn’t the second coming or anything; it’s still an MMO, and in some way a derivative one to boot. When I was stalled in the beta, it was mostly because the questing was too boring for me to want to invest significant time in when a beta wipe was coming. I was told that the questing game changes noticeably after level 15 and gets  far more interesting.

Now I’m not 100% sure that’s true, being up to level 21 at this point and still finding myself having to wade through a heaping helping of boilerplate quests that involve killing predetermined quantities of x’s and collecting plenty of y’s. I’ve mostly made my peace with it, but even challenges aren’t enough to make questing some amazing experience.

There are sparkling flashes of innovative here and there — the shiphand missions for example — but overall the leveling is pretty much same old-same old as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it gets even better at even higher levels. But all in all if that’s my primary gameplay complaint, then I have it pretty good thus far. (Aside from the bugs. So many bugs right now.)

Anyway, I can think of worst ways to spend my summer than a whole new adventure with my friends in a whole new game. This will do nicely for the time being.

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June 11, 2014
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They should bring back paladin auras


When I was mulling over this topic in my head, I ran it by my buddy Dan as a trial balloon. His reaction was, “Removal of auras? WHAT PATCH IS IT?”

Ok, fair point. Thing is, the removal of auras had been like a shard of a popcorn kernel — a fleeting memory of a long-ago enjoyed bucket of salt, butter substitute, and air — forever lodged between tooth and gum. The pain of the loss has mostly dissipated, but reminders linger.

Auras as a class mechanic have been a staple of The Paladin across multiple Blizzard properties. In Diablo 2, paladins had a slew of defensive auras that they could use to the benefit of themselves and their party. In Warcraft 3, the paladin hero unit had Devotion Aura, which bestowed extra armor to surrounding units. In World of Warcraft, the paladin class launched with a whole toolbox of auras that allowed paladin players to buff their groupmates with various buffs (some more useful than others). Most recently, in Diablo 3, the new crusader class — essentially a paladin — features Laws which (let’s be honest) are just auras by another name.

Auras continued to be a staple of the paladin class in WoW, going through different changes from expansion to expansion until they were finally removed in the ability purge leading up to Mists of Pandaria.

With Warlords of Draenor (allegedly) on the horizon, this topic is admittedly slipping into the mists of history. Yet, I remain hopeful that it’s not too late. A grave injustice was done when auras were given the old heave-ho and it’s not too late to correct this error.

First, let’s talk about why auras are worth saving.

More than just history

wc3paladinI already breezed over the history of the paladin aura, and I’ll spare you, dear reader, from a deeper retelling. Suffice it to say, in an environment where abilities are being judged more and more from a utilitarian standpoint, I hope that an appeal to historical value would have some weight.

When you have a class mechanic that is as intrinsic as auras are to paladins, spanning multiple games and franchises as they do, removing that mechanic does more than clean up a neat little redundancy in your class design: it also tears a piece from the soul of that class. Sure, it can be dismissed as just a little graphic under the feet of the paladin — but auras can mean so much more than that.

When you play a game like World of Warcraft, what keeps many players anchored into the game isn’t that treasured allure of collecting seemingly meaningless points and running the same content multiple times a week ad nauseam, it’s the attachment to our characters. That’s what puts the RP in MMORPG.

Auras are as much a part of the paladin class as totems are to shamans, or demons to warlocks. Their removal loosens the string that connects paladins to their heritage, and diminishes the culture — the feel— of the class as a whole. Without, we take one more hesitant step towards homogenization and a darkest timeline where paladins are just warriors that shoot out yellow beams with our attacks.

A pretender occupies the stance bar

When auras were removed, the keys to the stance bar were handed over to a new tenant: seals. Instead of Retribution Aura and Crusader Aura, paladins were given the option to toggle between Seal of Insight and Seal of Righteousness. While slipping seals onto the stance bar seems like a neat little fit, from a class flavor perspective I argue this is antithetical to the paladin ethos.

As the flavor text on Uther’s TCG card said,

By safeguarding those around him, a paladin aids in his own defense.

Across three different games, the central idea of the paladin is of a support class in shining armor providing aid and comfort to nearby allies just by sheer presence alone. The power of a paladin flows from within as a divine will emanates from their figure outwards. They are an outlet for whatever deity or holy power they happen to act as an instrument to, a forever opened spigot of might and glory.

The power of a paladin does not primarily flow from their weapon, by the blessing bestowed on whatever slab of metal they hold in their hands. You know what class channels their power through their weapon? Death Knights: The antithesis of a paladin.

It’s a subtle difference, but I argue that it’s an important one.

The way forward


All these words later and you must be wondering what point I’m trying to get at. Mists of Pandaria, for all intents and purposes, is over and the changes that the expansion launched with are pretty set in stone. This is surely true, but for my own peace of mind I am compelled to offer a fleeting suggestion for how to correct this situation as the next expansion is cobbled together.

It’s obvious that mechanically the paladin class cannot get another layer of buffs via auras, so some shuffling must occur if they are going to return. Likewise, most of the effects that auras once offered are either deprecated (eg, the resistance auras) or have been folded into a passive ability (Heart of the Crusader) or something else entirely (the new Devotion Aura). Blizzard’s been very conscientious about culling group buffs, so the proposition of adding new ones is a non-starter.

And on top of that, you would rightly ask what I propose we would do with the stance bar, other than turn over the chair and dump the seals onto the floor, laid out on their dull faces.

The thing is, though, that I have no idea how to proceed from there. You could make seals passive, sure, since they have a fairly strong “illusion of choice” vibe going for them with two of the three specializations in PvE, but that introduces new headaches and isn’t really clear cut.

Most importantly: If you brought back the auras, what then would they do?

In the first draft of this post, I started typing an argument that auras could take over the job of blessings, but then I pulled off my shoes and socks and counted out that we have a grand total of two blessings — and the idea of upending two class mechanics (seals and blessings) to bring back one (auras) is … well, it’s dumb.

So, a thousand words later I’m laboring to wrap this all up with a neat little bow, but honestly I’m not sure that’s possible.

For want of a neat, little bow

It seems, quite clearly, there isn’t a way forward. The thesis of this post, as I set out, was (and hell, it remains) that auras should be brought back. I do still believe that in a better universe paladins are running around with glowing, colorful geometric designs cushioning their footfalls and all the friends surrounding them are better off for it. Those paladins also might as well inhale sulfur dioxide and exhale bubble gum, because I have no earthly clue how they make auras work over there or what they do.

Ultimately, should Blizzard bring back auras? Yes, absolutely. They are part of what it’s meant to be a paladin across three games and two franchises and the class feels diminished without them.

Could they bring back auras? Likely not, that ship has sailed, and with the new emphasis being on not drowning players in excessive mechanics and abilities, adding a whole new layer of buffs just doesn’t seem workable.

Would they bring back auras? No, I strongly suspect they would not.

Still, I continue to hope. And if you are within 40 yards of me you might feel some of that hope too.

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These are the times that try raider’s souls


I can’t believe there’s at least 5-6 more months of this shit.

The other week we started the old standby for a raid group that’s starting to get sick of the current content: going for the meta achievement. It’s keeping us busy now as something that’s easy and low-impact, though obviously it won’t take us very long to finish. I’m finding the meta achievement as akin to the dinner roll accompanying an otherwise uninspired dinner. You get the nice, fluffy, easy to chew break that that warm roll provides with its crispy, golden crust and the soft, melty interior — but before you know it that moment of respite has passed and you still have a plate of boring veggies before you.

The analogy especially holds for SoO’s achievements; most of them so far have been ridiculously easy. These are probably the first raid achievements I’ve been involved in seriously doing since ICC and I am enjoying how painless they are. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine there’s enough content here to last us more than three or four more raid nights (in order to get the achievements done for every body) and definitely nothing that will feel like progression in the way that Neck Deep in Vile did.

Nevertheless, I’m not sure where the raid stands on going back to the green roughage of hardmode progression. We kind of stalled on it … two months ago? I think? I’m really not sure, time seems to dilate when it comes to SoO. What feels like it could have been the other week frequently turns out to be back in like November when I try to remember certain moments within the Orcish city.

Part of the hardmode stall (again, if I recall correctly) was because of a brief period of rosters upheaval and so we ended up sticking to familiar territory (both normal and under-our-belt heroic) to keep the train going in a straight line. We can probably get back to the grind pretty easily but I’m not sure if anyone in the raid group still has the same enthusiasm about progression in Siege right now. (Confession: I don’t think even I do.) We definitely want to keep raiding right up until Warlords… we’re just not sure what we’ll raid to keep ourselves busy.

I suppose I should be thankful there’s still fresh content of some kind for us to do in there. I don’t know what groups that have completed all the heroic content are doing with themselves other than slowly descending into madness. Or, on the other side of the coin, what groups who have no interest in heroic modes are doing to keep themselves busy. Probably something cuckoo bananas like fighting Dark Shaman on the roofs of Orgrimmar.

Either way, this malaise is a serious problem, though I don’t need to tell you that. I’m sure you feel it too. You can see it daily in how the community discusses WoW on twitter and elsewhere. Rather than getting terribly excited for Warlords, we’re turning a very critical eye towards the expansion in a way I haven’t seen in a while. I think this newfound … I don’t want to call it cynicism but I can’t think of a better word … springs from the overarching discontent that we’re all feeling over the content drought.

Consider how the recent Blizzcon announcement was not met with the same across-the-board enthusiasm it usually is. There was a noticeable amount of murmuring and questioning of what the hell Blizzard can actually show from WoW in November if Warlords is just out the month or two prior. Indeed, I took the two-month delay in the Blizzcon announcement initially as a hint that the con just wasn’t going to happen this year, so I was pretty surprised when they finally let out the other day there were indeed going to have it still. Did not see that coming in the slightest.

Blizzard is in a pretty tough spot right now. It’s obvious they underestimated how long the new expansion was going to take and severely front-loaded their Mists content schedule in a very ill-advised way. Indeed, I would almost have preferred an extra two months in the each of the previous two raid tiers if it meant four fewers months of Siege of Orgrimmar on the balance.

I’m not what they can do to keep people engaged when the primary content wellspring has essentially run bone dry for so much of their playerbase and I don’t envy their position as they grapple with that issue.

I’ll still be playing WoW for the duration, mostly thanks to my wonderful guild. But I’ll be approaching it with the same enthusiasm a kid approaches that plate of brussel sprouts. Maybe one day soon I’ll get to have my Draenor dessert. One day.

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April 24, 2014
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Oh cool, first look at paladin t17 datamined

Looks pretty good! I’m excited about how evocative it is of t4, which was my very first tier set and holds a special place in my heart.

I’m glad the paladin tier leans more towards the Draenic aesthetic and away from the “savage” Orcish aesthetic… which of course makes a great deal of sense.

I really like the detail on the shoulders and how they open up and rearrange themselves.

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April 22, 2014
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Give us glyph of the hammerdin!

Pray to Zakarum for this glyph.

Last night in raid I was talking about how much I’ve been enjoying playing a crusader in D3 and that I wished I had some of the crusader’s toys to play with in WoW. I was in the middle of a long rant about how I missed the Falling Sword ability (it was hard adjusting to not being able to come crashing down onto a trash pack) when Kaleri, my favorite BearPriest, had a flash of brilliance that the new Consecration glyph could give the spell effect of D3’s Blessed Hammer. I just had to share the idea here in this space.

Her original tweet from last night, mid-Dark Shamans (cough), so I’m paying proper attribution to her genius:

Blizzard isn’t above bringing cool effects from Sanctuary into Azeroth. Likewise, the crusader features several abilities that have facsimiles in WoW, like Consecration, Shield Glare, and Blessed Shield — and, as we know, turnabout is fair play.

While I wouldn’t ever want them to go overboard and add something completely out of place to the paladin, I think a Blessed Hammer-like effect is subtle enough (in a way that a Falling Avenger carbon copy could never be) that it could slip right into the paladin toolbox without sticking out like a sore thumb. Most importantly, it would look so freaking awesome.

(I know it’ll never happen, but it’s nice to dream.)

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April 8, 2014